Comments on David Marsay's Comments - Number 1

David Marsay djmarsay at
Fri Oct 9 04:31:18 PDT 1998

In respones to:
>   ----------Forwarded Letter ----------
> To: donald at (New Democracy)
> From: Charles Fiterman
> Subject: Re: More comments on Lord Jenkin's proposals
> At 06:14 AM 9/25/98 -0400, you [David Marsay] wrote:
> >
> >2) A candidate with > 50% of 1st place votes wins. So the method is
> >'majoritarian' in this sense.
> >     Like FPP and vote-ranking methods. Approval is not like this. (If a
> >'left' candidate has 51% support 2% of the supporters might rank a 'centre'
> >candidate 2nd, leading to a 'wrong' win for the centre candidate.)
> There are three terrible assumptions here which is amazing for so short a
> statement.
> 1. The centrist shouldn't win in this case.

My example shows that approval voting does not meet the 
majoritarian criterion given above at '2)'. I am not saying that the 
majoritarian criterion is 'right' in absolute terms, although I do 
think that many folk believe in it.

> But the centrist is the only one who could have enough support to run
> things. Admitted the left and right don't have him as their first choice
> but they both found him acceptable.
You don't know that.

> In the end the job of government is to
> run things and that requires compromise.
I may have voted for the centrist candidate!
> 2. Politics is one dimensional.
I was merely intending to define a simple example in which approval 
voting is not majoritarian. I don't think I am 1-D!
> 3. Everyone deserves to be equally powerful.
Again, 'one-person-one-vote' is a traditional goal. It is never 
met. (Floating voters have all the voting power). I'm not sure if it 
is desirable in its own right or not, but any proposed system needs 
to pay it lip-service.


Sorry folks, but apparently I have to do this. :-(
The views expressed above are entirely those of the writer
and do not represent the views, policy or understanding of
any other person or official body.

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